In the news...

June 26, 2013

U.S. senators seek cost cuts for F-35 fighter jet

Bradley Klapper Associated Press
Associated Press

Senators sought cost-cutting opportunities June 19 in the Pentagon’s $400 billion program for the next-generation F-35, a fighter jet with a troubled testing record that military leaders said America couldn’t afford not to build.

Chairing the hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin lamented that the F-35 already has cost taxpayers billions more than what Congress signed up for more than a decade ago. The Democrat asked military leaders to justify costs that have soared more than 70 percent and estimates that the entire program could exceed $1 trillion over 50 years.

The Joint Strike Fighter program has had more than its share of problems over the last decade,î Durbin said. ìFrankly, its history reads like a textbook on how not to run a major acquisition effort.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, and it has been troubled by schedule delays and cost overruns. The developer, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., is building different versions for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to replace Cold War-era aircraft such as the Air Force F-16 fighter, the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marines’ EA-6B Prowler and AV-8B Harrier. International partners, including Britain, also are in line to buy F-35s.

Costs vary by the features in each model of the plane, but can reach $169 million per unit. An F/A-18 Super Hornet can cost half that much.
President Barack Obama’s budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 calls for spending $8.7 billion to develop, test and buy 29 aircraft. In total, the Pentagon envisions purchasing more than 2,400 F-35s.

Leaders of the U.S. military’s different branches stressed that costs were now decreasing.

Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall said that with the plane 90 percent developed and testing almost half-done, officials were still focusing on creating a more stable design that would help bring production costs down.

ìIndications are that this time these efforts are succeeding, but we still have a lot of work left to do,î he told a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Kendall, who once criticized the decision to produce the F-35 ahead of its testing as ìacquisition malpractice,î said stopping production while all problems were worked through would have resulted in significant further costs and disruption.

Asked by Durbin whether the program was now ìtoo big to failî or ìtoo big to cancel, Kendall said no program enjoyed such status.

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, said his service could not afford not to build the plane if the U.S. is to maintain the air superiority it has enjoyed since World War II and prepare for emerging global threats.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert of the Navy, whose F-35s will be made to take off from the short runways on aircraft carriers, said software and other costs could still pose problems for the program.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 27, 2015

News General Dynamics withdraws as T-100 prime contractor General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology has withdrawn itself as the prime contractor on the T-100, the offering for the T-X trainer replacement program based on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 design.   Business SpaceX’s fight with U.S. Air Force called a clash of perceptions Billionaire Elon Musk’s...
 
 

News Briefs March 27, 2015

Contractor extradited from Iraq pleads guilty in bribes case A man extradited from Iraq in a military contract bribery case has pleaded guilty to three charges in an agreement with federal prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose has scheduled sentencing for July 1 for Metin Atilan. His attorney, Nick Gounaris, says the two sides agreed...
 
 

Headlines March 25, 2015

News: Obama says more troops will stay in Afghanistan next year - President Obama March 24 formally abandoned his pledge to bring U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan down to 5,000 by the end of this year, saying the current force of about 10,000 will remain there into 2016.   Business: U.S. special ops to sole-source 2,000...
 

 

News Briefs March 25, 2015

Pentagon notifying U.S. troops named by alleged IS hackers The Pentagon said March 23 it is notifying 100 U.S. military members that their names and addresses were posted on the Internet by a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division. The group said it was posting the information, including photos of the individuals, to...
 
 

Headlines March 23, 2015

News: House aides preview major Pentagon reforms - Reform of the Pentagon’s weapons buying habits will lead Rep. Mac Thornberry’s agenda as head of the House Armed Services Committee say committee aides, a long-term plan the Texas Republican will formally outline March 23 at a Washington think tank.   Business: Lockheed fixing software glitch with GPS...
 
 

News Briefs March 23, 2015

Arizona Veterans Courts push counseling, not jail for veterans Arizona military veterans who land in court for minor offenses are also landing second chances. Judges and prosecutors across the state have been holding Veterans Courts to make sure defendants who may have physical and mental battle wounds get rehabilitation instead of jail time. The Arizona...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>